All posts in “ALPHA Team”

Teen Boy Rescued from Asian Massage Parlor

Teen boy rescued from massage parlor in Thailand

Today, a 16-year-old boy from Myanmar is free. After being exploited for sex in a male massage parlor in Southeast Asia for 20 days, Ye* was rescued. Based on evidence gathered by The Exodus Road’s investigators, local police rescued Ye and arrested two traffickers in Operation EDEN.

Our team in Southeast Asia and our deployed operatives had worked tirelessly on the case for nine months, gathering evidence and then supporting police to execute the raid.

One of our American investigators, who had worked on this case during a deployment, said that this massage parlor was the case that weighed heaviest on him. But he was glad to make that sacrifice for Ye’s freedom.

The innocence I lost on this trip and the trauma that will stick with me is such a small price to pay compared to what these victims experience regularly,” he said after returning home from the deployment. “I truly believe that if everyone could see what we dare to see, that it would begin to change our culture.”

The raid resulted in the arrests of the owner and manager, successfully shutting down the establishment. Police translated Ye’s Burmese ID to confirm his age and charged the two offenders with trafficking of a minor. The sentence for one count of human trafficking in this region can range from four to 20 years.

Multiple young men were being exploited at the massage parlor, but only Ye could be classified as a victim of human trafficking because he is under 18. The police are interviewing previous employees to continue building the case against the traffickers.Today, Ye is recovering in a government safe home for boys. The Exodus Road will follow up with Ye as he transitions into freedom.

This case is a huge victory for us to celebrate. Laws in this region require a heavier burden of proof before police can execute a raid, so our operatives had to persevere through obstacles and setbacks to make Operation EDEN possible. We are so grateful to the local law enforcement who put in incredible time and effort to push this case through to success.

*Ye is a representative name that means “brave” in Burmese. Names are changed for survivors’ safety.

Learn about Search & Rescue
The Exodus Road Bangkok Training January 2016

Team Training in Bangkok

By: Corinne Shark

In January, we kicked off this calendar year with a multi-regional Exodus Road training comprised of 23 of our executive leaders, managers, regional lead investigators and volunteer investigators from Asia, India and the U.S. who all converged in Bangkok, Thailand for the event. The conference room buzzed with vision, information, stats, cultural context and legal processes. Digital presentations and manuals were dissected point by point. Expectations and conduct, objectives and standards were emphasized. Personal testimony and actual video footage stoked the flame within even the most seasoned operatives, bringing every detail, every number, back to real victims with real names.

Training is vital to the success of every rescue with which The Exodus Road is involved, because while the issue of human trafficking is extremely emotional, our search and rescue work is anything but.

  • Training creates a more well-rounded understanding for everyone involved. It’s important for our staff to see what our investigators go through. It opens their eyes to the difficulties each of us experience and humanizes the whole process of this work.

    -Jim*, Regional Director

Training protects the victim. We place a high value on our victim-centered approach and believe training our teams is imperative in maintaining this focus.  Every member of the team, from undercover investigators to office staff, employs strategy and protocol at every turn in effort to protect the minors we are working to see freed from further danger and exploitation.

Training protects the investigator. Equipping our teams to assess and manage risk factors and to exercise safety tactics as they collect evidence in both red-light districts and rural villages is essential.  Even though many of our operatives are former military/law enforcement, the darkness they engage night after night requires a heightened level of vigilance and self-care. We are committed to their health and well-being as they leverage their strengths on behalf of the vulnerable.

Training protects the big picture. We believe lasting change is found in empowering the national authorities as they engage the issue of human trafficking within their borders. Educating our staff and teams on our supporting role facilitates positive relations with local law enforcement as well as maintains our value on contributing to long term systemic change.

Thailand 1.16 046 Training in Bangkok

  • I am happy to have been able to transfer some of the knowledge to my operations team. Also, it was great to meet members of the volunteer team from the U.S. They are great people with good hearts coming here to help victims of human trafficking.

    - Som Piyathamsawat, Operations Manager
Here at The Exodus Road we know successful raids, rescues and prosecutions begin with teams armed with more than just good intentions. We invest in the training of our staff and investigators because we know it will yield the freedom of many. Boys and girls, men and women. Victims of unspeakable violence. More than just a number. Each one, a name.

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